Scudamore Says: “He’s still a young horse that’s still improving and can go well”
Top jockey Tom Scudamore looks ahead to his Easter weekend rides and looks back at last week’s Grand National
I was so pleased for Dad and Lucinda winning the Grand National. It’s such a special achievement and I think Dad sobered up on Wednesday as the celebrations went on for days. It was wonderful for my children to be there to see their Grandad and Lucinda win the race. It’s something they will never, ever forget. I couldn’t join the celebrations that night sadly as I had 10 stone to do at Ffos Las the following day, so had to go there. My Dad is in great form. He said they have been getting incredible numbers of goodwill messages, and the whole thing is incredible. Saying that the amount of things they are being asked to do now having won the National is quite demanding, and they have to make sure they still do all the day to day tasks, entries, declarations, etc. All these demands can just take your eye off the ball and they still have another 70 horses to see to and manage.
I had a tremendous ride on Vieux Lion Rouge. He always put me in the positions that I wanted to be in and he just didn’t quite get home again. He got a little bit further than he did last year, and let’s hope he can get even further next year. He jumped from fence to fence, gave me a great ride but the petrol gauge was empty after jumping the second last. I couldn’t have asked for any more from him. He ran with great credit.
The ground was in great order, though it was a little bit quicker than I thought it was going to be. It was just Good ground. It was a strange race in some ways as apart from One For Arthur, nothing else got into contention from behind. Most of the horses just stayed out the back. Only One For Arthur really made up ground with Saint Are staying past a few but never looking like winning. That makes One For Arthur’s effort even more creditable given the amount of ground he made up from the second last. He was a very good National winner.
I knew when I crossed the line that Dad and Lucinda had won, but my first thoughts were to ensure my horse was alright, jump off him and get him some water. When I jumped off a loose horse charged past and I managed to dodge it fortunately as it’s a potentially dangerous situation with so many horses and loose horses around. You have to be very aware of what’s going on in those circumstances. My Dad broke his leg once when a loose horse cannoned into the side of him.
I know some of the jockeys have been reported to the BHA by the starter, but I think there were a number of factors that didn’t help the starter or the jockeys this year. There was a hold-up getting the horses from the paddock to the track, and some of the horses were down at the start for a long time. I was one of the last to the start, and didn’t realise how long some of them had been there. I was getting my girths checked and suddenly noticed all the other horses and jockeys getting ready to line-up, as they’d been waiting so long. I do think the organisation getting horses from the paddock to the track wasn’t as slick as usual this year, and that didn’t help when it came to the start. It was also unhelpful that nobody told the starters that there was a hold-up. I think there were mitigating circumstances and neither the jockeys nor the starter should get blamed or punished. They just need to make sure that the procedure for getting horses from the paddock to the start is much smoother and quicker.
People may not think the start should matter given how long the National is, but you do want to get a good start so that you can get a good position early. You want to get a nice clear run at the first few fences. You don’t want to have to keep switching around horses, or avoiding fallers. So you may not want to actually lead the field but you do want to be in a nice, handy position with a nice view of the fences. They told us before the race that the horse that jumped the first in front last year ended up finishing nineteenth but that’s not the point. You don’t want a good start to get to the lead, you want a good start to take control of your race, as otherwise you are chasing it. You want to be the one making the decisions not having decisions made for you.
All things considered, I thought it was eventually a very good start to the race. The starting team do a great job for the Grand National – Robbie Supple, Simon McNeil, Seamus O’Neil and Will Jordan. They are the best starters and they do all the big meetings. They are very good.
It’s a decent card at Haydock on Saturday with nice prize money levels. I ride Monetaire in the first at 2.05. He ran really well at Stratford two weeks ago. It was his first run for a long time and I think he’ll improve for it. It wasn’t just his first run, it was his first proper race since he finished second at Cheltenham Festival, as his form since then had been very disappointing. It was a big step back in the right direction and I think he has a chance in this race.
In the 2.40 I’m on Rathlin Rose for David. He wants a bit of rain and there is some forecast. His last two performances were great and he is stepping back into handicap-company now. On that form he would have a chance but we do want some rain. Guy Disney will give me a lot of grief if I don’t win on him as he rode him to win his last two starts. He’s in Africa doing charity work at the moment but he will still be ruthlessly ribbing me from afar if I get beat on Rathlin Rose.
Guy is one of my best friends, I’ve known him forever. We were at nursery together, school together, that’s how far we go back. To see him cope with the adversity that he has faced, and never feel sorry for himself, and then see him achieve what was a lifetime ambition to win the Royal Artillery Gold Cup and the Grand Military Gold Cup, was awe inspiring. He’s now a better rider with just the one leg than he ever was before with two, which is testament to his commitment and dedication. He’s improved an unbelievable amount. He was always a kamikaze rider before. Growing up he was a lunatic, a complete daredevil, getting up to anything and everything. I was so proud of him, and all the team involved with him, when he won those two races on Rathlin Rose. It was a fairytale for everyone involved.
I then ride Chic Theatre in the 4.20. He won last time although it wasn’t the strongest of races. He’s a bit of an in-and-out performer but if he puts his best foot forward he could go well. I think the track will suit him but he hasn’t been the most consistent of performers.
In the 4.55 my brother has three runners declared, Twenty Eight Guns, Dawnieriver and I’m down to ride Two Smokin Barrels. Twenty Eight Guns has had a great year. I felt last time at Sandown that she was probably now high enough in the handicap. I tried to go with the winner that day and it probably just cost us second place. A few have come out of the race and run well so it was probably a decent race but I do think she might find things difficult off her current mark. Any rain would be very welcome for her. Two Smokin Barrels has had a fantastic season and her form has worked out really well. She wants plenty of rain. She won’t run if the ground is too quick. Dawnieriver ran well last time. I think we would have beaten the horse that fell upsides us but it would have been touch and go. She doesn’t want the rain, so if the rain comes she might not run. I could end up switching on to her if the ground is too quick for Two Smokin Barrels.
I ride Abracadabra Sivola in the 5.30. He’s been another in and out performer. He seems to be getting his act together. He won well at Taunton last time, the second time he’d won around there this season, and as Haydock is quite a sharp track you’d think that should suit him. He’s a horse that disappointed a bit on his first couple of starts but it’s been a good performance by David and everyone at Pond House to get him back to his best. He’s still a young horse, that’s still improving, and can go well in this.
On Sunday I have four at Ffos Las. I ride Coole Charmer for Neil Mulholland. He was second to Twenty Eight Guns back in December at Bangor but has been disappointing since then. I ride Bubsy Burbidge for Neil in the 2.55. I rode him at Stratford last time out. It wasn’t a bad run. We led for a long way and made a mistake at the second last. He ended up well beaten. Neil has had a great season but this would be one of his lesser lights.
I ride Streets Of Promise for my brother in the 5.15. She hasn’t had the rub of the green in her races this year. Michael runs two in the race, Streets of Promise and Kingswell Theatre. There’s very little between them and as Ben has won on Kingswell Theatre and I’ve won a few times on Streets of Promise, that’s how we sorted out the riding plans. I think my horse will appreciate the trip and deserves a bit of luck. She’s fit and well, and the more the rain the better for her. My fourth ride on the card is Bambi Du Noyer in the 5.45. I don’t know much about him. It’s his first run for David. Hopefully the change of scenery will see him improve but it’s going to have to.